Again by Mary Calmes
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Again reads like a classic romance with the typical cheesy misunderstanding, super quick resolution to every conceivable problem and easy happy ending. That’s not bad if you’re looking for something short, sweet, and mildly funny. It’s not a story you’d remember or even care about as soon as you put it down, nor are the characters really that entertaining but the story itself is romantic enough for an easy read.
The story starts with an excellent opening. Noah’s just been dumped by his husband of a few years, for a woman, and he can’t get off the floor. The various characters that come in and try to help him are amusing and Noah is very adorable in his post-breakup depression. The story then picks up six years in the future when Noah has moved past Dante, or so he thought, when all of a sudden Dante’s back in his life. Dante immediately decides he’s not going to let Noah and their daughter go and that’s the end of any issue.
There are a few problems with this story in that it’s pretty cheesy and unbelievable. The big misunderstanding is very cliché and familiar with no attempt at subtly or creativity. The reasons are simply silly and the fact that such a supposedly strong man as Dante acts like he does just negates any kind of actual depth. Instead you have to just accept the story at face value, ignore the ridiculousness of the misunderstanding and the conflicting character actions, and just enjoy the simplistic romance aspect.
If you can do that then the characters have some amusing moments and entertainment value. Dante is very flat and just dominates the entire story and Noah as soon as he’s introduced. The story “fixes” all the problems by simply having Dante tell Noah how it’s going to be and Noah being too weak or overwhelmed to argue at all. There’s no real resolution to how/why they broke up six years ago, they’re both just over it since they’re still in love. There’s no real resolution to how they’re going to live in the future, Dante just states how it’s going to be and Noah goes along with it. There’s an attempt at tension with the pseudo boyfriend in Keith but he’s given a very easy, almost sad out just for the sake of convenience.
Overall this isn’t a horrible story as the beginning is pretty strong with some great elements of humor. Unfortunately the rest of the story is pretty stock romance for those that like a predictable and easy romance. There’s no real tension or problems and throw in some explicit sex for the steam factor. If you’re looking for easy and sweet, this could fit. If you’re looking for something with depth and nuance, this won’t satisfy.
4 thoughts on “Review: Again”
I read this story a few weeks ago and I agree 100% with your assessment. I decided not to review Again because it just seemed that almost every story I review by this writer I say the same thing – flat characters, big misunderstanding, no plot, reads like a Harlequin romance etc. lol
Great job! 🙂
I wouldn’t say that every story I’ve read by Calmes is like this but a lot of her stories tend to be predictable, stock romances. I think the writing is very basic with a real lack of any depth. It’s decent enough for a quick read if you like repetitive themes, which clearly some do as I know the author has a following. I totally agree this reads like a Harlequin romance, which isn’t a criticism for those that like that.. merely a very apt comparison.
Sometimes Calmes is a decent “guilty pleasure” read but even those are the minority of her work sadly. Just my opinion though of course.
See, I actually liked this one quite a bit. I enjoyed the writing style and the connection between Noah and Dante (which was obvious to me right from the start, and not all books can do that for me). I thought the CIA set up was a bit over the top but overall, I was prepared to let that one slide because I enjoyed the rest of the story so much. Horses for courses I guess. 🙂
I just finished this one. And once again I realise I really don’t like pushy characters.
The opening scene is indeed great.